Jesus suffered at the hands of expert executors, professionals with vast experience, knowledge, and skill in the “art” of torture. Watching a person being led away to crucifixion was a common occurrence in Jerusalem in the 30’s AD. But Jesus was anything but a common criminal. Yet he took on that horrendous curse.
Yesterday we looked at the verbal abuse that Jesus experienced at the hands of his persecutors. Matthew 27 also uses very descriptive words to give us a glimpse of the physical abuse he suffered: “They…. spit at him…slapped him…jeered at him…bound him…condemned him…betrayed him…flogged him…stripped him…struck him…abused him…”
Being stripped, completely naked in public is nothing less than sexual abuse. On Good Friday Jesus experienced every brand of abuse that exists to mankind. For you and for me.
For the sacrifice of your body, we give you thanks.
For the pain you endured, we give you thanks.
For the shame you suffered, naked and exposed, taunted and ridiculed, we give you thanks.
For the forgiveness you uttered in the midst of that pain, we stand in awe. And give you thanks.
We present our bodies alongside yours as a living sacrifice in honor of you today. We receive the gift that you offer, bearing in your body our suffering, scars, and abuse. We give you thanks. And we, like you, are not victims, and with you we say, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”